Monday Profile: Sean Gallagher


Sean P. Gallagher was born in Watertown, N.Y., and raised in metro Detroit.  He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame and followed it with an eight-year career in professional service industries in Chicago and Washington, D.C.  He returned to Michigan to attend Michigan State University College of Law in 2006.

Based in the Lansing office, Gallagher served with Clark Hill’s public pension fund team beginning representing the Retirement Systems of the City of Detroit in connection with the City’s historic Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy proceedings and related litigation.  He eventually took the legal lead for the Retirement Systems’ pension benefit adjustment implementation efforts required by the City’s confirmed restructuring plan.  His practice includes advising clients on regulations affecting public bodies, as well as commercial, environmental, and energy regulatory litigation.

He enjoys distance running, following the Spartans and Fighting Irish, as well as spending time with his wife, Katie, and their three boys and baby girl.

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

Residence:  Okemos.

What is your most treasured material possession?
My wedding band.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school? First, give serious consideration to how your career might develop after an M.B.A. program, including joint J.D.-M.B.A. programs, before you commit to a J.D.  Second, research and compare program requirements.  Third, know yourself.

Favorite local hangouts: Zoobie’s, Old Town Lansing; Corey’s Lounge, Lansing; and Cancun Mexican Grill (Jolly Rd.), Okemos.

Favorite websites:,,

Favorite app? Songza.

Favorite music: U2, Pearl Jam, Great Big Sea, anything 1990s ‘alternative’ rock, which is now apparently considered ‘oldies,’ Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, and anything Christmas.

What is your happiest childhood memory? Any Christmas memory, but mostly the music that my Dad would play on his record player on Christmas Day. Everything from John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas to Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  He gave me those records, and still I enjoy listening to them.

What would surprise people about your job? Probably that it’s rarely like they see on television, except for the occasional dry news clip regarding a court hearing.

What has been your favorite year so far? Oct. 2005-Sept. 2006: got married, bought first home, and started law school, in that order.

What is your most typical mood? Upbeat.

How do you define success? Being reliable.

Why did you become a lawyer? I wasn’t satisfied with my pre-law careers, stopped ignoring my mother’s suggestions about law school and lawyering, and realized they were right for me.

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?
Any of my kids, who are all 7 and under. Their unfettered experiences of joy and pain are remarkable.

What did you do last weekend? Swam with my kids, watched college football, and had an end-of-summer cookout.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been? Vatican City. St. Peters Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, and The Sistine Chapel are all worth experiencing, particularly for Roman Catholics, but probably for anyone. Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, and Lake Powell are next.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? “Visit Chicago.”

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? Having my parents present at my swearing in at U.S. District Court in Detroit.

What do you to relax? Split firewood with an axe, then build a fire with it in the fireplace.

How would you describe your home? Loud. Boisterous. Chaotic. Alive.

What is one thing you would like to learn to do? Parachute.

What is something most people don't know about you?
I played four years of varsity basketball at Detroit Catholic Central High School in the 1990s.

What is  the best advice you ever received? My father-in-law, a retired U.S. Marine, offered the following: “Everything in life begins with individuals repeatedly asking themselves this question, ‘How does this affect me?’”

What do you drive? 2005 Volvo XC-90.

What would you drive if money were no object?
Captain of a sportfishing boat in Florida.